Dear every mum I’ve ever known,
I’m done. I can’t and I won’t compete anymore. I’m not the ‘perfect mother’ because no one can be. My mother’s generation fought for gender equality, not for me to be pressured into doing everything. She fought for choices and this myth of the perfect mother is taking away my choices.
We live in a society where mothers are expected to bounce right back to bikini bodies after they’ve had a baby. If we don’t, we stand there looking in the mirror hating our bodies. Our beautiful, amazing, strong bodies that created life. We pull, poke, squeeze and berate ourselves for having stretch marks and not being stick thin. “I should look like her” we tell ourselves, comparing our new mum bodies to the bodies of Instagram fitness celebrities.
Instead of spreading myself thin trying to go to the gym at 5am before everyone is up, cooking the ideal breakfast, making sure the house is spotless, getting everyone where they need to be then rushing off to work, trying to combine parenting, housework and a career into the same hours I used to focus just my career on, I’m done. I’m choosing me.
Living life the way I saw in magazines, on Instagram and everywhere crippled me. It made me depressed and instead of being able to focus on my gorgeous bundle of joy, I am constantly worried about how I parent, if it’s right, how I should look and what I should do.
Let it go. Stop comparing and live your life with me. Be in the moment and trust yourself.
Behind every closed door or perfectly made up face, coiffed hairstyle and manicured nail is a different story. One we don’t know about. We can’t compare our everyday with everyone else’s highlight reel. The reality is usually far from the facade we’re presented with.
I’m tired of feeling the pressure to be everything to everyone. I’m a human, I made tiny humans, but that doesn’t mean I am no longer me. It doesn’t mean I suddenly have to work full time, exercise to have crazy flat abs and buff arms, always have my hair perfect, makeup done with contouring and fake lashes to boot, as well as dress amazing, do yoga daily, bake the cupcakes when my child has a birthday, cook nutritious meals each night and keep an amazingly clean home. I’m not superhuman.
Constantly comparing myself to the carefully styled images on Instagram, the curated photos and posts you choose to post on Facebook, the carefully worded conversations at the school playground making your life out to be amazing is not healthy for any of us. In fact, it’s ruining our relationship with ourselves and makes it harder to parent.
Suffocating in the sea of expectations of feel myself drowning. Each day I see another fabulous life on social media, another article about what I should be doing, how I should be raising my kids and how mothers can have, be and do it all because we are amazing.
I agree, we are amazing, but in our own way. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” Instead of comparing our lives to the pressure we feel from society to be the perfect mother the only person to compare yourself against, is you.
Be you. Love what you do. Enjoy your kids. Have your career if you want one. Choose what you want in your life and live it that way. Say goodbye to the myth of the perfect mum with me and reclaim your life.
Life is meant to be lived.